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TO   THE   LIGHTHOUSE

was sitting beside Mrs. Ramsay and he had
nothing in the world to say to her.

" I'm so sorry," said Mrs. Ramsay, turning to
him at last. He felt rigid and barren, like a pair
of boots that has been soaked and gone dry so
that you can hardly force your feet into them.
Yet he must force his feet into them. He must
make himself talk. Unless he were very careful,
she would find out this treachery of his; that he
did not care a straw for her, and that would not
be at all pleasant, he thought. So he bent his
head courteously in her direction,

" How you must detest dining in this bear
garden/' she said, making use, as she did when
she was distracted, of her social manner. So, when
there is a strife of tongues at some meeting, the
chairman, to obtain unity, suggests that every one
shall speak in French. Perhaps it is bad French;
French may not contain the words that express the
speaker's thoughts; nevertheless speaking French
imposes some order, some uniformity. Replying
to her in the same language, Mr. Bankes said,
" No, not at all/' and Mr. Tansley, who had no
knowledge of this language, even spoken thus in
words of one syllable, at once suspected its in-
sincerity. They did talk nonsense, he thought,
the Ramsays; and he pounced on this fresh
instance with joy, making a note which, one of
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